Nissan Motor Co. unveiled a new version of the Leaf that narrows the driving-range gap between its best-selling electric car versus Tesla Inc.’s Model 3 and General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Bolt. The Leaf e+ debuting Tuesday at CES in Las Vegas boasts a more energy-dense battery that extends range by about 40 per cent, to as much as 226 miles (363 kilometers). That compares with the 220- to a 310-mile range for the Model 3, which starts at $44,000, and the 238-mile range on the $36,620 Chevrolet Bolt. While the Leaf starts at about $30,000 in the U.S., Nissan isn’t releasing the price of the e+ until it’s closer to starting sales this spring.
The release of the latest Leaf comes after a delay as Nissan called off key events in the wake of the scandal involving Carlos Ghosn, the company’s former chairman and architect of its electric-car vision. The auto industry’s increasing focus on automation and new-energy vehicles, along with the aggressive push into both areas by Tesla and scores of startups from China to Germany, add to Nissan’s challenges.
Nissan has sold more than 380,000 Leaf vehicles globally since its model first went on sale in 2010, with over 128,000 in the U.S. The new Leaf will be available at dealerships in Japan starting this month, followed by the U.S., then Europe in mid-2019, Nissan said in a statement.